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Why Did I Start Writing?

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Hey, Everyone!

 

I recently thought about the pressures we sometimes put on ourselves as writers to meet up with imagined expectations.

 

Aside from heralding the countdown to the Christmas holidays, November is known in writing circles as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). Aside from the cumbersome acronyms, there has been a lot of debate on whether the writing process is helped or hindered by writing under such strict timelines.

 

Last November, I took part in NaBloPoMo and published a new post every day that month. I had just started this blog the previous month and it was an opportunity for me to see how serious I was about my writing and to build up my reader base.

 

Even though I enjoyed NaBloPoMo, I knew that I was not likely to take part in it again. I have since created a consistent writing schedule that is convenient for me and which does not compromise my quality of writing.

 

I thought about taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, but I decided against it. The thought of producing well over a thousand words a day was too daunting, not because I couldn’t do it, but I just didn’t feel like I would produce my best work (I applaud everyone who has taken it on!). I have spent November doing a course on writing and storytelling, and I’ve been steadily building up the structure for my novel. I feel very pleased with what I have done so far, and even though I am unlikely to reach the 50,000-word count proposed by NaNoWriMo, I would have made much more progress than where I was this time last month.

 

I count that as a small victory.

 

Also, every few weeks, I take some time to do an audit of all that I have written during that period. I assess the quality of what I have written and think about how to improve my work. I also think about how successful I have been with promoting my work on Social Media, through my Email Newsletter and in my personal interactions. I have found that I have made some progress, especially with telling people that I am a writer.

 

I try to follow-up on the writing competitions which I have entered and the article pitches which I have sent out for consideration. I used to feel very stressed out when competition deadlines pass without any feedback, or when I don’t get any responses to my emails with article pitches. These days, I just shrug, cross those things of a list, and continue the process.

 

I know the above might sound tedious to some people, but I must say that focusing on the processes above really makes me happy!

After all, what’s the point of writing if it stresses me out instead of lifting my spirits?

 

Writing has become very important to me this year, mainly because it has given my life a whole new sense of purpose. However, it is a sense of purpose that is cushioned by my own contentment, not by what others might assume I should be doing as a writer.

 

Writing has made my life extraordinary, with ideas flowing through my mind faster than I can write them down. If I think about all the stress which has left me, the contentment I feel when I get positive feedback and the slight confusion I experience when I stumble on a poem which I wrote on a piece of paper months ago which actually looks very good, I know that I am on the right track.

 

Perhaps with time, I will be able to make a full-time career from writing. Until then, I will enjoy the smile which writing puts on my face and all the adventures and experiences which come along with it.

 

Thanks for reading.

Ivie.

Classically Ivy.

 

©Ivie M. Eke 2016.

 

P.S I’m also working on another short story series, so watch this space!

Blogging Every Day In November-Lessons Learned.

1. I was worried that I would fail the challenge-what could I possibly find to blog about for thirty consecutive days? It turns out-a whole lot! There were days that I wrote several essays and poems, and had to restrain myself from posting all of them at once. Life happens, and I was able to get inspiration from different things happening around me.

2. Even when I had an experience that made me unhappy, I chose to turn the experience into something uplifting. I have written a few sad poems, but I have tried to make the majority of what I have written to be mood-lifting and thought-provoking.

3. I have gotten so much support from my family, close friends, not-so-close friends and even strangers, which I appreciate tremendously. I have gotten feedback regarding what they have enjoyed about the blog so far and ideas to make the blog stand out more; this has been interesting and insightful.

One person observed that I tend to write a lot of short posts. I agreed; it is often the case because
a. I feel the point I’m trying to make at the time needs only a few words, and
b. I don’t want people to doze off while reading the posts.

I look forward to doing more writing.

Hugs for everyone.

Allergies Everywhere!

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Princess. photo: someecards.com

I’m allergic to dust, please sweep gently and with caution.

I’m allergic to stuffy environments, please open a window.

I’m allergic to to windy environments, please close the window.

I’m allergic to to cheap perfumes, please go and stand by that corner.

I’m allergic to cheap food; 5 star dining only, please.

I’m allergic to poverty, please park the bullion van by the mansion’s entrance.

I’m allergic to Economy class, please let me turn left to ‘First’ as I board the plane.

I’m allergic to tap water, a glass of Perrier will do nicely, thank you.

I’m allergic to empty promises, come back when you have some substance.

I’m allergic to bullshit, please run away as fast as you can when you see me.

©Ivie M. Eke 2015

No Sister Here.

I’ve wondered about having a sister,
Someone to always have near.
I’m sure that she would have been wonderful,
I probably would have really loved her.

Maybe a lovely big sister,
Who would always look out for me.
Someone who I could borrow clothes from,
Like a shopping mall, but free.

Maybe a pretty little sister,
Who I would guard with my whole heart.
Who would also look up to me,
As I make living this life look like art.

Maybe even a twin sister,
With whom I would share my thoughts and my fears.
Someone that looked exactly like me,
Always ready to wipe away errant tears.

Even though I don’t have a sister,
A permanent friend to call my own,
I still have my loving family and friends,
So I know that I will never be alone.

©Ivie M. Eke 2015

Walk-Jog-Walk-Jog.

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My Saturday morning routine is a self-imposed one.

I roll out of bed and put my exercise kit on.

So that I can make an effort to be as healthy as I possibly can.

By taking a brisk walk, or even make the effort to run.

I set off very early so I can avoid the morning sun.

Sometimes I put in too much effort and feel an uncomfortable burn.

I often see other people, running and walking at every turn.

Why are the things required to be healthy not always fun?

Often we wouldn’t make the effort to exercise unless someone pointed a gun.

But we must try to make the effort; it’s not something we should shun.

So that we won’t collapse before our time and find ourselves in an urn.

And instead of being celebrated, people would gather around to mourn.

For a life that ended abruptly, before it had even begun.

©Ivie M. Eke 2015

They Must Be In A Secret Cult.

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photo: weheartit.com

I have given this a lot of thought. It would be a good justification for their actions. The world would have meaning again.

Majority of service providers in Nigeria must be in a secret cult.

To prove their worthiness and loyalty, they must apparently do the following:

1. They must provide extremely poor services to Nigerians.

2. They must charge ridiculously high prices for the privilege of using their services.

3. They must be as rude and unhelpful as possible to a customer making enquiries.

The poorer the level of services provided and the more frustrated Nigerians get, the higher their progression up the cult’s hierarchy.

Only when they have done all these things can they show that they are loyal to the cult (which is probably called Mediocrity-Anonymous).

It all makes sense now.

Hips Like Shakira.

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If I could move my hips like Shakira, mundane tasks would be dance-worthy, like shopping or even drinking water.

If I had a voice like Beyoncé Knowles, I would sing at the top of my voice, and winning a Grammy would be one of my goals.

If I had a strut like Naomi Campbell, I would catwalk all the time, and wear designer clothes extremely well.

If I had toned arms like Michelle Obama, I would always wear sleeveless dresses, in summertime and even in winter.

If I had a smile like Kerry Washington, my teeth would always be on display, and no bad situation would ever leave me beaten.

If I could write books like Chimamanda Adichie, I would become a millionaire, using literature to express every joy and fear.

If I had a mind like Hilary Clinton, I would tackle tough policy issues, and my reasoning would be as sharp as a pin.

If I could just be myself always, I would reach for the stars, and find great success, until the end of my days.

©Ivie M. Eke 2015

Photo: Wikipedia

Day 26. #nablopomo

Apps for your cramps.

 

I’ve been told that if any woman truly remembered the pain she went through while giving birth to her first child, she would wait calmly for her husband to ‘approach’ her again, and then point a gun at him. ‘Baby 1 will be our only child’ or ‘We are adopting the next one; please leave me alone’, she would say. The husband would of course agree, and they would live happily ever after (the husband would however spend the duration of the marriage watching his back).

 

Menstruation is different in the sense that you don’t have enough time to forget and there’s generally not much you can do about it. It shows up every month, depending on your cycle. Menopause is too far off to contemplate, and one has to deal with this ‘visitor’ from your early teens until it decides to stop showing up in your forties or fifties.

 

An app to track your period helps, because at least you can be prepared to deal with it effectively. Once I take note that my period is close, I get everything I need ready: sanitary pads, hot water bottle, pain killers. I will always make an attempt to function properly during the 3-5 days when the period shows up. It is not always easy though: sometimes the pain is unbelievable.

 

Seriously, search for ‘period tracker’ in the App Store; a long list awaits you. People have given this a lot of thought.

Destination: Stress.

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The loud drone of generators-there’s been yet another power failure.

Thank you NEPA, we can always count on you, for darkness and stress in equal measure.

 

The long queues at Petrol Stations, there’s yet another round of fuel scarcity.

Who do we blame, the petroleum marketers, or our good old NNPC?

 

The poor internet and network connections, all our money gone to waste.

Calling customer support will drain you of energy, after having so long to wait.

 

The unprofessional staff you meet at offices, who attend to you with such disdain.

They make you forget why you went over there, and you leave there feeling barely sane.

 

All these and more make one feel so frustrated, and want to jump ship to another place.

But for now, we’re still here and we must play our part,

So that inefficiency will not win the race.

 

©Ivie M. Eke 2015

photo: weheartit.com

LOVE (THE LOWS)

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When love goes wrong…
It consumes you.
It overwhelms you.
It shrinks you.
It devours you.

When love goes wrong,
oh my, what a sight.
There is cruelty and misery
where there was once delight.

When love goes wrong, it’s like a guest who refuses to leave,
Who mocks you and belittles you, and won’t allow you to grieve.

When love goes wrong, the sound of his voice is a mood killer,
The sight of his photos, the scent of his perfume, make you feel so bitter.

When love goes wrong, it is grotesque, like a punch to the gut,
You cry and you wonder, ‘love, why does it hurt so much?’

When love goes wrong, you think life is over, like there’s nothing good under the sun,
Then one day you wake up, you’re even able to smile,
You decide that your life must go on.

©Ivie M. Eke 2015

photo: weheartit.com